My husband and I have been on a diet. One night last week we decided to blow it and go eat Chinese food. We went into our favorite restaurant and proceeded to eat. At the end of the meal along with your ticket they bring Chinese fortune cookies. We always laugh and try to decide which cookie has the fortune just for us inside. We laugh because at times I open one and it’s meant for him. Other times he’ll read his and go this was for you; not me. Last week we did the same thing. One of us got you will have many friends. The other one was something about in the near future you will live a comfortable lifestyle and not have to worry. Now it wasn’t the exact words, but it implied that I would be comfortable soon and not have to worry about finances. Now we both have plenty of friends and I am not banking on not having to worry about finances. Sounds a little too good to be true doesn’t it? Everyone knows if it sounds too good to be true then it probably isn’t something you want to depend on.
We both laughed and thought, “Sure thing.” As I sat there finishing up I looked around and wondered something. I know somewhere someone bakes cookies and some computer or machine prints out those little slips and they are put in the cookie. This happens with no regards to you and me. It just happens. Yes, some of those may seem like they were meant just for us, but they weren’t it was just a coincidence. As I sat there that night I wondered how many people in that restaurant sat anticipating the message the cookie had for them. How many when they opened that cookie and read their message actually believed it was for them? How many waited for this message to take place and then were disappointed nothing came through for them? How many believe in this message?
I have never or I never will take these messages seriously. I am fully aware of where these messages came from and how they got there. I will never put my hope in a message that comes from a cookie. Instead I will put my hope in the messages that come from a book.
Yes, it would be nice to think that at some point I am going to fall into financial bliss and all my troubles will be thrown out the door, but do I put my hope in that? No, my hope comes from the blessings of the Lord. One of the greatest messages I have found that I cling to is found in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Now you could argue, “Well that verse was written in Old Testament times and you weren’t even thought about then. This message was for them not you. So how can you say this is for you?” Simple God led me to it and assured me this was the message I was to put my hope in. Because I have a relationship with God I trust Him. I do not have a relationship with those who bake those cookies or who type those messages so I don’t trust them for my life or my future.
Psalm 139 says God created me. He knows me. Since I have a relationship there is no place I can go to get away from Him. Since I believe that when I read the Bible I read as if God is speaking right to me. Often times when I am dealing with something and I need something God is good to give me a message or a scripture that will give me hope or the help or the understanding I need.
“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians4:19promises God will supply all my needs. I can depend on God to know what needs I have and fulfill those needs when I need them. How can a cookie know my need? It certainly can’t tell me when my need will be fulfilled; it just gives me false hope.
I fear there are some folks eating at that restaurant or any restaurant that passes out messages at the end of the meal that put their hope and trust in the cookie message. They know it was meant for them. Yet, when the time comes and the message isn’t fulfilled they are depressed or about to lose hope. I had one that told me specifically in three months I would receive a special blessing. Three months passed and although I am sure I received a blessing (God gives us blessings every day we just aren’t always aware of them) it wasn’t because of a cookie and I certainly wasn’t watching the date on the calendar. Although I fear some people might do this. They will track down three months and wait anticipating the blessing they think a cookie will give them.
So how do we help these folks? We can’t evangelize each table, so how do we help? We help by offering up a breath prayer every time you see someone open up a cookie with a message. We help by getting out the message that our hope is in God not in a cookie. Psalms 62:5 says, “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” We share our hope with others every time we get a chance.
There are a lot of people today that does not have hope or they have hope in all the wrong things. They will grasp at any little thing that comes along and gives them hope; even a cookie. Let us be about doing God’s work and get the message out that we should put our hope in the one true message that is designed just for us and that’s found not in a cookie, but the Bible.
Next time you get a message from a cookie open it up and read it; have some fun, but please take it for what it’s worth. Remind yourself where it came from and who it came from then take a minute and say a breath prayer for all those who are eating and reading messages from a cookie and then if you get a chance share the one true Source of hope with someone.
Dear God: Thank you for your messages of hope I find in the Bible. As I read my message from the cookie let me laugh and have some fun with it, but let me never put my hope in it. Remind me you are the One true Source for my hope. Remind me the real messages of hope comes from the Bible and not a cookie. Thank you Lord for providing for my needs including those messages that I need to hear most. Help me to reach out to those who do not have hope and help me give them the message of hope that comes in having a relationship with you. Amen.